Dear Santa: Shivam’s Christmas List
I wanted to make a things-to-do list this week (I’m a stickler for lists and fascinated with organisation, planning and itineraries). I tend to keep a notebook in the kitchen for these kinds of things. But as usual there were no spare pages. My kids had already made their mark – quite literally – on every single page.
As I flicked through hoping for a blank canvas, I came across Shivam’s Christmas list to Santa from last year. I remember seeing this for the first time back in 2016, straight after he had written it. He was so proud of it, he left the notebook on the dining table so his Daddy and I could see it!
There were some pretty normal things he had asked for – things I would expect any regular kid to want. He’s really into wrestling and has boxes full of figures of all sizes, except his favourite – Roman Reigns, so naturally he asked Santa to fulfil that wish. He also asked for a Batman costume, a TV in his room and an Ipad. Again, fair requests. Although the latter two were not granted.
What really drew our attention were some of the other things on the list (and I share them here in no particular order).
Nice Parents: We had gone through a fairly rough patch with Shivam’s behaviour – being in trouble at school, constantly fighting with Shalini and getting aggressive with us. So there had been a lot of shouting, discipline and new rules. Let’s just say we were not his favourite people for a while. I’m not surprised he displayed his feelings on a page but was a little taken aback that he was asking Santa for his parents to undergo some sort of ‘nice’ transplant.
Swag Hats: Shivam loves a good hat and bless him, he does look very handsome when he wears one. His obsession started a few years ago while we were on a road trip around Florida. Since then, wearing a trilby or a fedora has become his signature look and he loves the compliments he gets. He often poses in front of the mirror and says he looks ‘swag’. He knows Mummy and Daddy usually buy him things like that so why he would ask Santa for something so easily attained is beyond me.
Toy Snake: Given that we’ve established by now that he was not very happy with Mummy and Daddy at this point – and knowing full well about my phobia of snakes, this again was understandable. Cruel, but understandable.
Change Grass: Now I don’t know why he would want to change our garden. It’s not perfectly manicured but our regular odd-job man Steve comes round once a month in the spring and summer and maintains it fairly well. When I asked him about it, he said the grass was rubbish. I didn’t really have an answer. I now know why he’s always eager to watch Steve at work. Poor Steve!
No Bullies At School: As I’ve already mentioned, Shivam had had some issues with his behaviour at school. The teachers said he and other boys often got rough with each other. There were a couple of boys in particular who were in trouble a lot and Shivam told me all about the goings-on each day. Even a year later, he still tells me everything that happens in school. He said some of the boys use swear words, push him around and don’t let him get involved in their football game. It’s something we’ve been working on with the school but I remember reading this and finding it quite heartbreaking. Maybe him writing this down was a cry for help. Or it could have been part of his act. I don’t know. But I made a mental note to myself to delve into this a little further.
Mother Stop Singing: I think I’m a fairly good singer and therefore I don’t restrict it to the confines of the bathroom. I sing all over the house at any time of the day – Bollywood, Bhangra, Pop, Rock – whatever takes my fancy. Shalini and Shivam often join in. We dance in the kitchen, strumming our air guitars, choreographing routines. Sukh sometimes tells me my singing is annoying but Shivam has never expressed a dislike for it. In fact, he’s encouraged it. So I felt this request to Santa was a little uncalled for – and definitely won’t be granted any time soon!
Girlfriends At School: I’m sure most young boys have crushes. All pretty normal behaviour, I think. Shivam’s teachers have told all the kids that they need to concentrate on school-work and not on having girlfriends or boyfriends. And I agree. Although I encourage him to be open with me and share his feelings and the daily goings-on at school. One of the boys in his class apparently has eight girlfriends! Maybe that’s where this desire came from; to compete with this other boy. Whatever the reason, he’s too young to have a girlfriend anyway, but it seems like quite a harmless request on a Christmas list…right?
Dead Parents: Now this came right at the bottom of the list and it came a few days after the initial list was complete. Shivam must have been extremely angry with us on this day and added it. He had decided that ‘nice parents’ were no longer enough. Sukh and I were amused at this but I was also quite devastated and angry at the same time. He spoke about death so casually – and especially the death of his own parents. We have spoken about death many times since (but that’s something I will talk about some another day).
Well, what can I say now, a year on? My reaction to some of the items on this list then wasn’t the same as it was now. Now I literally laughed out loud. There was no anger, or heartbreak, or devastation – there was only humour. And I thanked the stars for blessing Shivam with such an imagination.
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